Several weeks ago, Microsoft announced its acquisition of DB Best, provider of a leading suite of Oracle-to-SQL Server database-migration tools. This acquisition is the foundation for Microsoft's new SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA). SSMA defines and automates all the major steps in the database-migration process and provides comprehensive assessment reports, one-click conversion of all schema and data, one-click conversion of almost all database-resident business logic, and automated testing of the converted code. All these capabilities are available from within a single migration IDE. Currently, SSMA supports database migration only from Oracle to SQL Server 2000. Microsoft intends to support IBM DB2, but hasn't specified a time frame for this support. Microsoft says that the SSMA release to manufacturing (RTM) should happen sometime in the second half of this year, timed to coincide with SQL Server 2005's RTM. So, how will SSMA simplify your life? Here's a quote from the FAQ about SSMA:

"With a single click, SSMA converts all database objects, including stored procedures, functions, triggers, views, packaged procedures, packaged functions, and sequences. SSMA also provides context-sensitive warnings and output messages. The conversion engine encapsulates Microsoft's patent-pending technology that represents one of the most complete PL/SQL to T-SQL conversion capabilities available."

Sounds like magic! To be honest, I'm not an Oracle person, and it's been many years since I migrated data from one database platform to another. I'm not in a position to say whether this is a great product, but from reviews I've read and people I've spoken to at Microsoft, the SSMA solution looks like it will unquestionably save you a tremendous amount of time during an Oracle-to-SQL Server conversion. It won't be totally automated, and I strongly suspect you'll want to do some performance tuning when it's all said and done, but I think you'd be crazy to do an Oracle-to-SQL Server migration without the support of a tool like this.

SSMA's primary Web site, http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=93E1:2621E7 , provides background information and lets you sign up for an SSMA beta that's currently underway. A detailed white paper is available at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=93E2:2621E7 , and you can find the SSMA FAQ at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=93E3:2621E7 .